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Strategies Preventing Combating Ransomware

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Question:

Discuss About The Strategies Preventing Combating Ransomware?

 

Answer:

Introduction

There are several issues of viruses have been encountered by different IT users and these viruses are malware, trojan, spyware etc. Each and every type of virus is harmful for computer and network users. It has potential to damage systems, its information and network connections. Malware is considered most vulnerable virus that is difficult to recover. Ransomware is a type of malware and various harmful cases of this virus attack have encountered by network and computer users. Not only a common user but also large business organizations could not get prevention from ransomware attack. I opine that to get rid of this problem, it is necessary to use some appropriate strategies by developers and security experts. Moreover, it is also essential for users to be aware about major risks and security concerns of ransomware. The purpose of making this report is to emphasize on security concerns, strategies and future trends of ransomeware (Usa.kaspersky.com, 2017).  

Background

Before start discussion about ransomware in detail, its background will help to understand it. Ransomware is one of the malicious software solutions. The main intension of ransomware is to hold computer and extract files from system without owner’s permission. It is known as unauthorized access of data. In past days, ransomware was commonly known as AIDS that was released in 1989 (Recorded Future, 2017). The key determination of this was to encrypt the file’s name in computer system of victim and after this, attacker asked hefty amount from victim to get repair tool for ransomware attack. Furthermore, the introduction of RaaS also created various problems for users. With the help of RaaS, the skills of attackers to launch ransomware were increased enormously (Security Intelligence, 2017). Here RaaS stands for ransomware-as-a-service. This service of ransomware virus was developed to put bad influence of malware on victim’s data and system’s environment.  According to analysis, ransomware was considered most dangerous cyber threat. It had potential to infect victim’s personal computer through various sources such as by visiting to unsafe, fake and suspicious websites, by opening unknown emails and its attachments and by clicking on malicious links that are in emails, posts and other received content by victims. In this way, on the behalf of this historical analysis I can say that ransomware was very destructive by nature.  That is why at that time users were also not able to get better security for this attack.

 

Risk and Security Concerns of Ransomware

From above discussion we got to know about vulnerability of ransomware. Now due to this vulnerability what kind of risks can be encountered by computer and network users, we will discuss here in detail.

Risks of Ransomware

  1. The first risk that related to ransomware is erasing of all data from computer system in which it has spread. If there is no backup of computer files then it is very hard to recover whole data (Rains, 2017).
  2. Other risk factor is related to maintenance of security of sensitive data that is stored into network databases. With the help of this malicious virus, hackers can easily access data from databases by injecting virus scripts into it. These scripts not only access data from database but also damage the whole database (TechRepublic, 2017).
  3. Due to ransomware, the issues of development of fake websites is also increasing to attract people towards those websites and to access their personal and credit card information. The links of these websites are distributed through ads on popular websites to redirect visitors on it to collect their essential information (Zetter et al., 2017).
  4. Phishing has also increased due to ransomware. Cyber-attackers can easily send vulnerable codes through emails to users with executable programming files. After downloading, these attachments spread into the boot sector of computer and cause wide range of damage.

These are some essential risk factors of ransomware that must be taken into consideration seriously by developers and as well as by users (Microsoft.com, 2017).

Security Concerns of Ransomware

The above discussed risk factors include various security and privacy concerns of ransomware. Hacking, phishing and any other kind of vulnerable attack through ransomware leads to security issues of sensitive information of users. Besides this, some other important security concerns exist regarding ransomware. The security concern is regarding enhancement in PC performance problems. Ransomware has potential to slow down the system at large extent and due to this all important application work in slow pace and give poor performance. Ransomware works at background in any system or network, so most of the background processes got affected (Team, 2017).

Due to ransomware, the interruptions from pop-ups and spam also increased. The pop-ups and spams are harmful enough and have potential to hijack victim’s browser and collect confidential information. Next security concern that is related to ransomware are unexplained behavior of personal computer (Healthitoutcomes.com, 2017). Ransomware causes unexplained behavior for browser. It means, this behavior is difficult to identify by users and they become victim. The main changes that include in behavior of personal computer are installation of unknown toolbars into browser that are unexpected for user, unknown amendments in home page of browser and mistrustful results for search.  Each and every security concern can give more vulnerable outcomes if proper security strategies or techniques will not be used at level of security experts (Crowe, 2017).  

 

Strategies to address security concerns of Ransomware  

Due to   instant increase in ransomware attacks and its vulnerable impacts, it has become essential to find out strategies to identify these issues. In upcoming paragraphs, I would emphasize on some important strategies that will help to address ransomware.

  1. Identify the signs of Ransomware
  2. Monitor the Trends
  3. Awareness about New Version of Ransomware
  4. Take Sound Backups

Identify the signs of Ransomware

The identification of ransomware can be done through its symptoms. The slow performance of system, unknown behavior of computer applications and browsers and unavoidable call to technical support confirms that ransomware has entered into system. It is a convenient way to recognize signs of ransomware, but users need to be careful while doing this (Digital Guardian, 2017).

Monitor the Trends

The past records about availability of sources of ransomware and their impacts might be helpful for IT users to get rid of this problem. For example, in Russia and Eastern Europe in 2009, the main source of ransomware distribution was email distribution with attachments. Moreover, malware laden advertising, malicious websites and sneakiness download were also included in overall process of distribution of malicious ransomware. Besides this, historical events about malware also described the overall range of cost that had to pay by victims for ransomware attacks and this range was of $60 to $1200 (Lerner, Tuttle, McDonald & Tuttle, 2017).

Awareness about New Version of Ransomware

Instead of using past records of information about ransomware attacks, the awareness about new versions of this malicious software is also required. There are different types of ransomware such as CryptoLocker, CTB and CryptoWall. These versions are harmful and flexible enough to customized according hackers’ requirements. That is why now cyber-criminals or attackers have become more active to collect confidential information from databases. This knowledge can be helpful to get suitable security tool to control impact of ransomware (Bailey, 2017).

Take Sound Backups

It is also a suitable way to identify ransomware into system. If a user is taking sound data backup periodically then it is sure that incursion of ransomware can be identified easily. The backup of data should be clean and clear. But if any unwanted changes will be seen in backup that is connected via network to different computers then it can be measured that virus attack is implemented and it has impact on backup. After getting this information, further action should be taken quickly to remove ransomware.

Now by using above strategies we can address ransomware into a computer system or a network. The knowledge about these strategies is important to have by all IT users. After analyzing that how ransomware can be identified into system or network, now in segment of report, I will discuss about techniques that must be used to restrict influence over ransomware.

 

Strategies to control Ransomware

Following strategies will help to control ransomware.

  • Use of Updated Security Software
  • Share the Information about Security Standards

Use of Updated Security Software

Anti-virus and other traditional security software solutions are not so much beneficial to resolve problem of ransomware (ERM Software, 2017). These are only suitable for controlling less vulnerable viruses. That is why, it is time to use some advanced available techniques to remove ransomware. The recent products are strong enough to identify and fix this harmful virus. Here, user just need to keep these security software solutions up to date and configuration should also be done accurately. If configuration will not be fine then required outcomes cannot get by users. These new software solutions provide maximum level of security. Moreover, all operating systems, web browsers and other web applications that are in computer systems must be updated and patched on regular interval. Updates and security patches of essential software components in a system enhance overall security and privacy of that system (Webroot.com, 2017).

Share the Information about Security Standards

Other strategic solution that can be used to resolve problem of ransomware is increase awareness among people about latest security standards that can be used to get protection from malware attacks like ransomware, spyware etc. (Osborne, 2017). This awareness can be provided through help desks, security forums and subscribing to intelligence services for threat. Moreover, in an organization, the problem of ransomware exists then periodic corporate training should be given to all levels of employees to maintain security of computer systems and networks. It is also necessary to provide them knowledge that when security tools should be updated and installed into systems (Capgemini.com, 2017).

Do not accept Suspicious Emails

It is important to do at users’ end that they do not accept any kind of suspicious email, message and file. If in their online accounts, any unknown entity is found then that should be considered as spam and must remove from system in one click. It is important because these unknown entities are sent by hackers to different victims with harmful executable scripts and when those entities are used by victims then they spread into system and damage whole important data and files.  

Try to Block

The blockage of any unknown entity into system is a good way of protection. It can be achieved by using blocking software solutions such as ad blocker, security patches etc. These solutions recognize the harmful entity and give alert to user. On this alert, user can block that item to enter into system and can maintain long term security.

The above discussed techniques are more powerful to restrict ransomware as compare to conventional techniques. All users who are using these techniques, they are satisfied with services of these techniques. Furthermore, I would like to say that backup and recovery is necessary for every database. It is possible that an instant attack of ransomware can destroy whole database in case of absence of any security tool. In this case, if backup will be available then recovery can be done easily of whole database. Therefore, this technique should also be used strictly by users.

 

Conclusion

To sum up, I can say that whether ransomware has putting its bad impact on IT users then on other side, various new and advanced solutions are developed for prevention. It is required for users to have knowledge about those solutions to resolve issue of ransomware or any other malicious virus. Besides this, the future trends of ransomware should also be in knowledge of people to be careful in advance and maintain high level security. The future trends of ransomware include that it will become in future more attractive tool for hackers for hacking, more attacks are designed to discourage and humiliate the victim, spam campaigns will be started to target security etc. Therefore, advanced level security should be maintained at end of security experts and other IT professionals. Otherwise, heavy loss can be occurred and people will become more worried about their online information (Solutions, 2017).

 

References

ERM Software.(2017).  8 Methods to Protect Against Ransomware Attacks. Retrieved 19 September 2017, from https://www.logicmanager.com/erm-software/2017/05/16/methods-protect-ransomware-attack/

Usa.kaspersky.com. (2017). What is Ransomware. Retrieved 19 September 2017, from https://usa.kaspersky.com/resource-center/definitions/what-is-ransomware

Rains, T. (2017). Ransomware: Understanding the Risk. Microsoft Secure Blog. Retrieved 19 September 2017, from https://blogs.microsoft.com/microsoftsecure/2016/04/22/ransomware-understanding-the-risk/

Security Intelligence. (2017). Growing Ransomware Risk Requires Stronger Security Controls. Retrieved 19 September 2017, from https://securityintelligence.com/news/growing-ransomware-risk-requires-stronger-security-controls/

Why SMBs are at high risk for ransomware attacks, and how they can protect themselves. (2017). TechRepublic. Retrieved 19 September 2017, from https://www.techrepublic.com/article/why-smbs-are-at-high-risk-for-ransomware-attacks-and-how-they-can-protect-themselves/

Crowe, J. (2017). What are Your Odds of Suffering a Ransomware Attack?. Blog.barkly.com. Retrieved 19 September 2017, from https://blog.barkly.com/risk-of-ransomware-attack

Team, O. (2017). What Is Ransomware And Why Do I Need To Know | Oakwood Blog. Oakwood Systems. Retrieved 19 September 2017, from https://www.oakwoodsys.com/ransomware-background-protection/

A History of Ransomware Attacks: The Biggest and Worst Ransomware Attacks of All Time. (2017). Digital Guardian. Retrieved 19 September 2017, from https://digitalguardian.com/blog/history-ransomware-attacks-biggest-and-worst-ransomware-attacks-all-time#4

Bailey, c. (2017). Cryptolocker (Ransomware) – What is it? What are the risks? What can I do? - Zenzero IT Solutions. Zenzero IT Solutions. Retrieved 19 September 2017, from https://www.zenzero.co.uk/cryptolocker-ransomware/

Ransomware Another Sign Of Security Challenges. (2017). Healthitoutcomes.com. Retrieved 19 September 2017, from https://www.healthitoutcomes.com/doc/ransomware-another-sign-of-security-challenges-0001

Malware Symptoms and Threats. (2017). Webroot.com. Retrieved 19 September 2017, from https://www.webroot.com/us/en/home/resources/articles/pc-security/malware

Solutions, C. (2017). Strategies for Preventing and Combating Ransomware. CybeRisk. Retrieved 19 September 2017, from https://www.cyberisk.biz/strategies-for-preventing-and-combating-ransomware/

Zetter, K., Zetter, K., Greenberg, A., Staff, W., Greenberg, A., & Newman, L. et al. (2017). 4 Ways to Protect Against the Very Real Threat of Ransomware. WIRED. Retrieved 19 September 2017, from https://www.wired.com/2016/05/4-ways-protect-ransomware-youre-target/

7 Ransomware Trends to Watch for in 2017 | Recorded Future. (2017). Recorded Future. Retrieved 19 September 2017, from https://www.recordedfuture.com/ransomware-trends-2017/

Virus, malware, and threat descriptions - Windows Defender Security Intelligence. (2017). Microsoft.com. Retrieved 19 September 2017, from https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/wdsi/threats

Lerner, M., Tuttle, H., McDonald, C., & Tuttle, H. (2017). ransomware | Risk Management Monitor. Riskmanagementmonitor.com. Retrieved 19 September 2017, from https://www.riskmanagementmonitor.com/tag/ransomware/

What is the Best Strategy for Dealing with Ransomware? – Capgemini Worldwide. (2017). Capgemini.com. Retrieved 19 September 2017, from https://www.capgemini.com/2016/06/what-is-the-best-strategy-for-dealing-with-ransomware/

Osborne, C. (2017). The biggest malware, security threats in 2013 | ZDNet. ZDNet. Retrieved 19 September 2017, from https://www.zdnet.com/article/the-biggest-malware-security-threats-in-2

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